FACEIT Coming to North America

          The competitive gaming platform FACEIT, well known among the CS:GO and Dota 2 communities, has recently entered a Beta test stage in North America for World of Tanks. For CS:GO and Dota 2, FACEIT provides competitive matchmaking for users based on their acquired elo from using the platform. Players are able to enter queue solo or as a group and are matched with teammates and opponents accordingly. Users accumulate points as they play which can be spent on a variety of in-game or physical prizes through FACEIT's online store. FACEIT generates revenue on a subscription basis, costing either just over $4 or just under $9 per month. Users are not required to subscribe in order to utilize the matchmaking platform, yet there are a number of benefits provided to paying users dependent on their plan, largely revolving around access to tournaments and leagues as well as being able to climb a ranked ladder. Click here to see their plans.

          The current WoT team battle system quickly faded into irrelevance once the the three main leagues, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, all adopted the new 7/68 format last fall in place of the 7/54 version. Still yet to be updated since the format change, the team battle system now serves little purpose for the player-base as it was initially intended to allow players to try their skill at the league format, either solo or with friends. While WG could still surprise the community and update the system, it seems they're comfortable with allowing FACEIT to take matters into its own hands. FACEIT certainly has the experience and infrastructure to get the job done and WG seems rather busy right now trying to globally rebalance the game.

          FACEIT seeks to provide matchmaking for various formats in WoT, from 1v1 to 15v15. The main attraction of course will be the ability to play the 7/68 format but with one slight change, no artillery. 7/68 battles will only occur on the same maps utilized by the leagues. Once players enter queue on FACEIT they are placed on a random team, a captain will also be designated randomly for each side. The teams are also randomly designated as either the attackers or defenders for the coming battle. The captains proceed to ban out maps until only one remains. Currently, matches are only a single battle affair, but that could very well change to a best of 3 or potentially a best of 2 format which would mean the possibility for draws. While best of 3s or the current best of 1 format provides a distinct advantage to the team assigned the initial role of defense, at the very least the fact that it is randomized provides balance in the grander scheme of things.

          The total process for finding and then launching into battle takes about 5 minutes, provided there are enough players in queue. Battles occur through the special battles tab in-game which pops after the teams determine the map. Enough time is provided so that players are able to exchange teamspeak info and determine a tank lineup for instance but it is in no way necessary to have to establish comms in order to play. It's a bit difficult to run a predetermined strat for battles due to time constraints so calling (or pinging on the map) is generally on the fly. 

          The test phase is currently limited to 200 players and the general response has been overwhelmingly positive, so long as the queue is active. Many league players are excited to finally have a way to practice and enjoy their competitive format outside of scrims. It's an excellent way to meet new players and perhaps locate or test out some new talent for a team. Aside from testing out how many battles teams should play, FACEIT is also trying to determine how to handle platoons. Should players be allowed to enter queue as a group of 2-3 players or should it strictly operate as a solo queue? Even a three man stack can be very potent, a small group of Gold League players can easily control matches unless pitted against an equal stack. Groups are currently limited to 3 players but that may very well change before launch. Hopefully, a separate queue is added in the future for 7 man stacks to allow for fully organized team matches.

          What's interesting about FACEIT's approach is the fact that it is already live on the RU server, having roughly 1,000 active players a night. Instead of simply applying the same format and system which they use for the RU server, they're catering specifically to the feedback from NA players. It's nice to see such a level of consideration from FACEIT. While there's no present ETA for release in North America, hopefully it can coincide with the next WGLNA season. FACEIT is already shaping up to be an excellent option for players to test their skills in a much more competitive setting and the release can't come soon enough. When it arrives, get out there and play!

tl;dr - FACEIT looks promising. Will provide matchmaking for 7/68 and other game-modes.